Many people may think that slavery is a thing of the past, confined to the history books and no longer an issue that affects people.
However Modern Day Slavery is a growing issue, even in the UK. According to the Global Slavery Index there are an estimated 11,700 slaves in the UK, and these slaves are often forced into labour and sexually exploited. Many of these slaves are women and children. Government statistics released in 2014 revealed that of 2,430 potential victims 61% were women and 29% were children.
Chair of the Gloucestershire Anti-Slavery Partnership and Chief Executive of Gloucestershire County Council Pete Bungard, spoke to Glos Live about the issue around the Gloucestershire area;
“Sadly, slavery is not an issue confined to history, it’s still happening today. We know slavery is happening everywhere in the country, including here in Gloucestershire, but we don’t know the extent of the issue we are facing.”
These modern day slavery victims could be forced into a number of roles, including forced labour and marriage. Victims can also be condemned to domestic servitude and sexually exploited, with 29% of victims being children.
“Here in Gloucestershire there is a multi-agency anti-slavery partnership working together to gauge and address the problem. The partnership’s focus is primarily on the needs of the victim.”
Here in Gloucestershire we can help curve modern day slavery by paying attention to warning signs that someone is being victimized by the growing issue.
Signs to look for:
• Physical signs such as malnourishment
• Social indicators such as isolation
• Poor living conditions
Police services have been trying to identify potential victims by paying visits to local businesses such as nail salons and car washes. Agricultural forced labour is particularly an issue in rural areas like Gloucestershire county.
You can help make Gloucestershire slavery free by 2020 by reporting suspicious activity to anti-slavery services and the police.
If you have seen any suspicious activity, please contact:
Police – 101
Anonymously contact Crimestoppers – 0800 555 111
Modern Slavery Helpline – 08000 121 700